As many of you may know, I spent this last week in Mexico working at a Children’s and Family Centre called Casa de Luz in Primo Tapia, on the North Western Mexican Coast.
From Saturday to Wednesday, with the rest of the Compassion DTS school in YWAM LA, I went to North Mexico near Ensenada to work with an organisation there who are one of our contacts. In preparation for our International Outreach to Kenya and the Philippines in just over 1 month, we spent half a week here playing with children and youth, loving them and teaching them from the Bible.
Their primary work happens at their Children’s Centre, where they work with impoverished and vulnerable single-parent families, many of whom are without family support or resources. The goal of Casa de Luz is to reverse this cycle of poverty and desperation and to give these single Mums the ability to hope and dream for their future again. There they provide for a stable environment for at-risk children so that their Mum is able to study or find a job so that she can provide for her family.
Each day we had a few hours with the 5-12 year olds where we would play games with the children before sharing a short message and some prepared programme of crafts and activities. Then we would spend a few hours with the youth, ages
13-15 also sharing with them what was on our heart and playing with them.
With the 5-12 year olds, I specifically worked with the 8-12 year olds and each day we acted out different parables from the Bible for them, it was great fun making them laugh as well as giving across an important message. With this group we also taught them some fun group games and I and some of the other guys enjoyed playing foursquare and football together outside.
For the days with the youth, we decided to talk about love, specifically sharing about how God loves us and our relationship with him which I shared about, and then on Wednesday talking about identity and loving others where I led an activity where we would each write encouragements and words from God on paper stuck to each others backs.
What I quickly was reminded of on the first day of arriving and being with the children was that none of them knew any English. With my broken Spanish I was able to have simple conversations with them, but most of the team didn’t know the language at all and this caused a bit of a problem. One of the important things about mission I think, is to be able to immerse yourself in the culture and, as best we can, try to learn the language. Here, the language barrier was a struggle as none of us knew good enough Spanish to be able to have deep conversations with the kids or youth about faith without needing to find a translator.
At the same time, I realised that, the most important thing to these children was not what was being preached to them, but that they were receiving love from us. Most of these children and youth came from bad situations back at home, either from poverty, or lack of parenting or safety, and they all desired really to just spend time with us.
I came to be reminded that here, where language was a bit of a problem, actions spoke a lot more powerfully than words. How we showed love to the children, was a model for them, for how Jesus loves each of his children, and ultimately, that’s what they needed to know.
With the help of translation, we were able to share parables with the children, speak identity over youth and share the love of Jesus with all those we met!
Prayer points for Casa de Luz can be found on their website at https://casadeluzmexico.com specifically concerning their vision for new buildings in the next couple of years.